Bulls

Heard over the bar

Heard over the bar

Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010
2:09 PM

By Frankie OCSNChicago.com

Hello again everybody! Frankie O here from behind the bar at Harry Carays! What are we talking about this week? Well as much as we would like to get excited about the Cubs manager, Im not quite feeling it here. No offense, but for the fans I talk to, there were only two choices, Girardi or Ryno, and Girardi seemed like a pipe dream, so once again, Im getting some Cub fan disappointment, buy hey, IM USED TO IT!

Part of the reason is that people dont know Mike Quade like they do the others. Hes a great story: Local guy, baseball lifer and honest as the day is long. He also has a compelling presence. His problem is hes not the other two. My feeling all along was that it was going to be Sandberg. Since his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, I know I, and many others, have looked at him differently. Who knew he had that passion? Also, who knew he wanted to manage? That took the Cubs off guard four years ago and they told him that he needed to work his way up from the bottom.

To the surprise of most, he did it and he did it well. He had an obvious impact on the kids and his status as a Cub icon was a boost to the turnstiles at every level. And very importantly, his teams won and last year he was the manager of the year in the International League. My favorite part was that it seemed that every time I heard about his managerial exploits, he was getting thrown out of a game. Where did that come from? I love the passion. So in my humble opinion, riding buses, teaching kids and honing his craft was exactly what he needed to do to get the big chair once Lou left.

So I was a little surprised when owner Tom Ricketts talked about his three criteria for the new manager: 1) A good teacher and coach. 2) Understanding of being a Cub. 3) Commitment to the organization. HELLO! What he should have said is that he was going to choose whoever Jim Hendry told him to. Now as any of you who know me understand, Im a big fan of Jim Hendry, especially as a person. But, its more than obvious that a) This was his call and b) Hes not a Sandberg guy or more importantly, Sandberg is not his guy. As in almost every facet of life, it gets down to politics and in this case it is no different. Ive been hearing about Hendrys indifference towards Sandberg for a long time, but my feeling was that Jim gave him the opportunity to sink or swim and a decision would be made on the merits of that opportunity. Well, Im WRONG AGAIN!

So as we move forward, Im willing, as should all Cub fans, to give Mike Quade a chance. Hes definitely earned it. But I will do it wondering, what if? And if Tom Ricketts wants to have everyone understand everything Cub, wouldnt it be so Cub, to groom one of the faces of your organizational Mount Rushmore, then turn your back on him so that he could achieve greatness somewhere else? I have a feeling, that there are some rooting for that very thing today.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Kris Dunn did it: You can’t play that position without an edge, without some form of “basketball killer” in you. Kris Dunn showed at the very least, he has that in his DNA in his best game as a Bull with a career-high 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Leave it to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to point out a forgotten stat: one turnover in 26 minutes.

“That’s the biggest thing I’m proud of,” Dunn said. “Everyone knows I’ve had a lot of careless turnovers in the season. It’s one thing I’ll take credit for.”

Dunn scored 13 with six assists in the fourth quarter alone as the Bulls outscored the Hornets 40-28 for the comeback victory. More than anything, it was his competitive spirit and aggressiveness that stood out. Kemba Walker stood across the way and gave Dunn—and the Bulls—every bit of 47 points.

“He tested my conditioning, for sure,” Dunn admitted. “He’s a great player. He’s been in the league for so long. It was good to go out there and compete with him.”

It could’ve went a different way had Walker not been bothered by Lauri Markkanen’s challenge at the rim, blowing a layup that would’ve given the Hornets the lead back with seconds remaining but he missed it and the narrative changed at least for a night.

And when teams are talking about learning experiences, it’s good to have them in a win every now and again. Markkanen’s challenge at the rim followed by his closing free throws right after, along with a quietly effective 16 points and seven rebounds, proved huge on this night.

Dunn finally having a confidence booster was imperative.

Dunn scored but it wasn’t an easy 20 or a smooth 20. It was an attacking 20, a necessary 20. He did hit some elbow jumpers, especially in the fourth as the defense laid off him.

But his biggest basket was a slithering drive to the rim for a layup with 2:24 left, because he attacked and was under control.

“That’s huge growth for Kris,” Hoiberg said. “He made the right play darn near every time he had the ball in his hands. Rose up with confidence, knocked down huge shots. Defensively got them going, got steals.”

What a relief: Nobody wanted to say it, but it bore out on the floor, the sheer desperation the Bulls played with.

Coming in with a five-game losing streak and headed out west to for four games in the next week, they were staring in the face of a possible double-digit losing streak to end November.

Confidence was sparse after three bad losses, and it’s a dangerous time for a team that will struggle to win games all season.

The United Center crowd got into it, particularly late when the Bulls began climbing back into contention to start the fourth quarter. The fans wanted this win too, even with the eyes being on a larger prize coming in mid-2018.

The relief was written all over Hoiberg’s usually-stress ridden face and he even cracked a couple jokes that weren’t aimed in his direction, as self-deprecation is normally his escape of choice.

“It is important but I asked the guys: is it hard to play with that type of effort? When you play with that type of energy and effort and swagger, it’s fun,” Hoiberg said. “When you play low energy and hang your head, it’s a drag. It’s hard to play at this level with that mentality.”

Starting change: Justin Holiday returned after his quick leave with his wife delivering a baby girl recently and his game-high 27 points showed he missed the Bulls as much as they missed his shooting, hitting four triples and going 10 for 15 from the field.

“Guys were serious about getting their jobs done,” Holiday said. “It was a lot of energy, a lot of energy, competitiveness. That’s how we have to play every night for our team to do well.”

Denzel Valentine, although he didn’t want to say it, wants to be a starter. Hoiberg chose Quincy Pondexter over him recently and then made the change Friday to insert Valentine for more scoring.

Valentine scored 18 with six assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes of run—and with those two starting as scoring options, the Bulls surpassed that seven-point first-quarter mark really early and scored 26 overall.

He hit a big triple in the fourth with 2:49 left to give the Bulls a 110-109 lead on a set play the Bulls actually executed between Valentine, Dunn as a setup man and Robin Lopez as a screen to pop Valentine open.

If he continues to hit 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip, especially with the way the Bulls have struggled to start games, he’ll have the right to feel he belongs in the first five.

“It’s definitely more confidence,” Valentine said. “You feel you’re an NBA starter, you get to go in and feel it out for a second and bring some energy to start the game.”

He didn’t mince words about starting, with a little honesty saying, “I think it’s huge being a starter.”

When asked if he felt validated by his performance and the result being a high-scoring win, it was just as telling.

“I think I deserve…I think I deserved a starting role,” Valentine said. “At the same time it’s different combinations, different people that need to be on the floor at certain times, so if he feels like I don’t need to start, I won’t start. But I feel very comfortable starting as well.”

Hack-a-Dwight: It could be Hack-a-Dwight, hack-a-Drummond, hack-a-Wilt or Shaq or Charles Shackleford.

The Bulls went to it and Howard went two of four from the line but it took a little rhythm from the Hornets and probably slowed Kemba Walker down just enough before he got cooking in the last 90 seconds and almost pulled a win out of his keister.

But…

I hate it. Get it out of the game completely.